Rick Murphy announces his candidacy for Superintendent of Hendry County Schools. He is the 12th child of Susie Wade and a lifelong resident of Hendry County, born and raised in Hooker’s Point south of Clewiston. He is the father of two daughters, Crystal and Christina Murphy, and grandfather of Nadia and Jalen Centeno.
He graduated from Clewiston High School and worked in business management with Hendry County Motors Inc. for many years. While working in business he continued his education at Palm Beach Community College earning an A. A. Degree in Business Management. During this time he also became a member of the Clewiston Jaycees, where he served as president and on various committees such as Jaycee Tee Ball, July 4th festivities, Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon and other community service projects. He also served as the Florida Jaycee’s District 112 President, working with the LaBelle, Lehigh, Naples and Rivera Beach Jaycee’s. His past community service has been with the Clewiston Kiwanis, Elks, American Cancer Board, United Way, Take Stock In Children scholarship funding and Clewiston Cougar Pop Warner Football. He is a Clewiston FFA Alumnus and has always supported LaBelle and Clewiston Youth Livestock programs including 4H.
In 1994 he was elected to serve on the Hendry County School Board. While working in business and serving on the School Board he decided to continue his education at Palm Beach Atlantic University and Florida Atlantic University to become a classroom teacher. His teaching career began at Lake Placid Middle School teaching sixth to eighth grade where he taught until 2008. Mr. Murphy served on the Hendry County School Board from 1994 to 2008. In 2008 he had to resign from his School Board Member term two years early by law to run for the Superintendency and was elected Superintendent in Nov. 2008. Mr. Murphy served as Superintendent from 2008 to 2012 during the worst recession in the history of the United States of America. Florida’s poor economy reduced funding for education and the Florida Legislature continued to make budget cuts, forcing local school boards to make cuts and reduce programs. Hendry County had the highest unemployment rate in the state. The loss of local jobs forced families to move and student enrollment dropped, decreasing funding to the school district. The State Board of Education and the Florida Legislature have continued to impose higher demands on teachers and testing for students.
While working together with teachers, staff, parents and community assessment teams our students performance improved. In 2012 the District received a state grant that provided funding for the district staff to work together with eight other school districts in developing turn a round leadership. As a result of some students coming into Kindergarten and not meeting state academic standards, our district leadership team recommended the school board fund and budget full time voluntary pre-k programs and teachers to better prepare students. The program began in the 2013 school year.
During my superintendency I requested Edison College to fulfill their promise by opening a campus in LaBelle and they bought the Community Christian School Campus which provides more dual enrollment classes for high school students and programs for adults. I also asked the State University System Board of Governors to support my request for Edison College to allow students in Clewiston the option of attending Palm Beach State College for dual enrollment courses because Edison could not provide teachers and the request was approved. I also was a member of the Alliance of Educational Leaders of Southwest Florida consisting of superintendents and college presidents coordinating regional programs for K-12 and college students.
I served on the Southwest Florida Workforce Board and requested funding for Destination Graduation counselors in Clewiston and LaBelle high schools. They are working today with students to graduate. I also requested workforce funding during the recession to train adults for future job opportunities.
My vision and goal was to offer new programs in our schools and to provide new skills for the workforce.
After leaving office in 2013 I worked in the Palm Beach County School District at South Tech Academy High School as an assistant principal and administrative assistant with Dr. Jim Kidd opening South Tech Prep Academy Charter Middle School. I also spent time working with our South Tech Adult School programs. I am ready to work with our employees, parents, business partners and communities to create new innovative programs for our students and workforce.
I have learned a lot in my experience working with other school districts, administrations, teachers, charter schools and schools of the arts, support personnel and transportation systems. I am ready to work with our employees, business partners and communities to create new innovative programs for our students and workforce. I would appreciate the opportunity to serve all the residents of Hendry County.